The best cross-dressing movies are comedies. For a cross-dressing drama to work, we have to believe—at least a little bit—that the character really could pass for the gender she/he has chosen.
Glenn Close has, to my mind, a masculine shape to her face. However, she does not look at all like a man in “Albert Nobbs.” Janet McTeer, another woman who passes as a man in this movie, also looks like a woman dressed as a man. McTeer comes closer than Close because of her 6’1” stature.
If you can convince yourself that these two women could actually pass for males, you might be able to enjoy the story. Both women are talented actors. The Academy just gave Oscar nominations to both. Apparently somebody in Hollywood thinks these women make good men.
I do not. The reality, believability and overall quality of this movie is compromised by these two portrayals.
If you are a person who tries to see all of the major Oscar nominated performances, “Albert Nobbs” offers two for the price of one. If you want to see a movie with a story that could have been taken from real life, choose again.